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June 21, 2016

Cotton Production in Brazil expected to Disappoint

Cotton producers in Brazil are concerned that their 2015/16 cotton crop is going to end up disappointing. A lack of rainfall in Mato Grosso, which is the largest cotton producing state in Brazil, and in Bahia, the second largest producer, is leading to lowered expectations for the 2015/16 crop.

In the state of Mato Grosso, the cotton acreage is estimated at 606,970 hectares or 4,000 hectares more than last year, but hot and dry weather is expected to result in lower cotton production in the state. The early harvest is under way for the full-season cotton that was planted in December and the full-season cotton is expected to have average yields due to a generally favorable growing season. Unfortunately, only about one-quarter of the cotton in the state is full-season cotton.

The other three-quarters of the cotton crop in Mato Grosso is safrinha production, which is planted after the first soybean crop is harvested. The safrinha cotton in Mato Grosso has suffered from a lack of moisture that started in early April. Some cotton fields in the southeastern part of the state are approaching 40 days without rain. In the hardest hit areas, farmers are expecting as much as 29% yield declines due to the adverse conditions. The safrinha cotton in the state will start to be harvested in August and the president of the Mato Grosso Cotton Producer Association estimated that the statewide cotton yield will be down 5% from last year.

In addition to a lack of rain, the cotton crop in Mato Grosso also was impacted by a significant outbreak of a white fly infestation.

Cotton producers in western Bahia are also expressing concerns for their 2015/16 crop. Hot and dry weather during nearly the entire growing season has led the Bahia Cotton Producers Association to forecast up to a 40% reduction in cotton yields in western Bahia.

The early harvest has begun on some of the 250,000 hectares of cotton planted in the state and the early yields are not encouraging. The Bahia Cotton Producers Association was expecting an average yield of 4,050 kg/ha, but that has now been lowered to 2,565 kg/ha or a 37% reduction.